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Anatoly Frolyn

Written by KoshcheiBessmertnyi

Anatoly is a rooster shapechanger, a fact that he does not bother to hide. He is currently a servitor or bodyguard of a boyar named Zinovii Surikov. Anatoly grew up on the Steppe, among Kochmak nomads, and in addition to knowing their language, he has deep insight into their way of life and their motivations. Though his identity is complex, Anatoly seeks to cover himself in glory in the service of the master he is currently pledged to.   In human form, he is a large man with a distinctive forelock, which appears to rise when he is in battle. As a rooster hybrid, he has a prominent red cockcomb that does the same, as well as vibrant plumage. He carries himself with pride, and acts very cocksure, in a way that is sometimes irksome to the people around him. He sees himself as The One the legends prophesied, and, when carried away, refers to himself as the Dancer of the Dawn, the Herald of Heaven, the Singer of the Sun, and the Crusader of Color. He is very opinionated, and often evinces dislike for the more carnivorous shapeshifters, especially Foxes. Anatoly himself does not consume meat, and looks askance at those who eat chicken, especially. Not one to shy away from a fight, Anatoly also takes pride in picking them, because meaningless violence serves no useful end.   On the negative side, Anatoly can be a bit bird-brained, and can be easily misled by tricksters and con artists. He is boastful and stubborn, and fancies himself an adept of weather lore, but his predictions are usually wrong. He also has a weakness for intoxicants and pleasures of the flesh - perhaps habits picked up during his time on the Steppe.   As a young boy, Anatoly, along with his sister, was taken from his ancestral Norik village by Kochmak raiders. The raiders quickly noticed that he possessed unusual features, and decided to raise him as one of their own. His sister instructed him in the ways of his village, and his native tongue, and also told him of the clan of roosters he was descended from (though she herself lacked any special traits). Anatoly regarded his rooster and Norik descent as a source of pride, but he also grew to respect the martial traditions of his captors, and could recite their genealogy to seven generations.   After one trek, his clan broke camp near a stream. Anatoly drank from it, and felt a surge of power inside him. He could now summon it up whenever he was involved in feats of strength, demanding chores, or combat. It was this that convinced Anatoly that he had a unique destiny to live up to.   One day, a Norik prince stopped at Anatoly's encampment as he traveled to pay his respects to the Kochmak Khan. One man in the prince's retinue, Zinovii Surikov, took a special interest in Anatoly, who was especially excited to hear stories about his ancestral homeland. Zinovii was impressed with Anatoly's prowess, and at the end of the day, he bought or traded for Anatoly with his clan's bey, and took him with him. Though Zinovii told Anatoly that he was now free to do as he wished, Anatoly found Zinovii a worthwhile master, and became his servitor.   After traveling throughout the steppe, and visiting numerous camps and towns, Zinovii went to the city of Udyn. He told Anatoly that he heard news of a raid against a Norik villlage by another Kochmak clan, and that the raiders took many prisoners and transported them to this city to be sold on its slave markets. The story resonated with Anatoly, but Zinovii also told him that what concerned him most was the fact that other princes, rivals of his master, were wont to blame his lord for the raid. But he meant to uncover the truth, to clear his master's name.   Zinovii came to stay at the house of a fur merchant called Georgii Nikonov, who had a mansion in the Nart Quarter, just outsde the city walls. After getting there, Zinovii was unfortunately taken ill, and had his servitors take much time looking for a good physician in the main city. On the day the physician, a Fogarma named Yaakov bar Asher, finally appeared, a group of Noriki from the village that was raided paid a call to Zinovii as well. Their leader, a man named Yuri Barolov, was searching for his family members, and asked Zinovii to give him the prince's protection to aid him in this enterprise. His companion Lokan also sought a letter of introduction to the daughter of the local amir. Zinovii replied that he would aid the men in both endeavors if they produced proof that exonerated his lord - the Grand Prince of Kliakva. A bargain was struck, and Zinovii then told the men that his servitor Anatoly would be at their disposal.   After leaving the mansion, his new companions told Anatoly that they had also found work at the Gaalite cemetery, which was preyed upon by people masquerading as undead nezhit', but who were there to steal holy water. They would go there to hold their vigil in the evening, but now, they wanted to visit the Kochmak encampment outside the city walls, as many of the nomads staying there were involved in the raid, and they wanted to learn about its instigators, and the fate of the captives. Anatoly guided them past the camp guards, and avoided a needless fight against insurmountable odds. Inside the camp, they were offered a game of chance to decide who would divulge information first. Their interlocutor soon became Zhuldyz, the beautiful and multilingual daughter of the clan's bey. She offered the companions a shooting contest to decide the matter, but Anatoly, knowing what the nomads respect most, offered himself as the champion in a wrestling contest. He handily defeated Aibek, one of the tribe's top wrestlers. To live up to her promise, Zhuldyz, told them that the raid was paid for and organized by a certain Yaqub, a lord from the other side of the river, though she then asked Anatoly and the others to tell her about themselves, and who he worked for. When she heard their story, she suggestively invited Anatoly to return sometime to show his prowess in endeavors other than wrestling. The companions returned to Zinovii with this information Zhuldyz had given them, but he told them he needed it in writing in order for it to matter.   That night, Anatoly, along with Lokan, Yuri, and, surprisingly, Yaakov, return to the cemetery. It is not attacked that night, but the companions discover another underground tunnel. They also find that both the new and the old tunnels are now blocked with newly built walls, though the builders left easy-to remove blocks in the edifices for easy access later.   The next day, Yuri and Lokan returned to the Nikonov mansion. They had been to the docks, and learned that Yaqub was in fact a zilant - a winged, legged, fire-breathing serpent. Slaying this fiend sounded like precisely the kind of heroic deed that Anatoly had been wishing to perform for a long time. In recognition of their efforts, Zinovii granted the companions a letter of introduction to the amir's daughter, as they had asked for. Yaakov, who also turned up at this time, told Zinovii that his illness stemmed from too much drink. Zinovii was incredulous, but promised the physician he would cut down (if only to avoid more bleeding). Later that night, Yuri and Anatoly removed several sarcophagus lids at the cemetery, and set them up as traps to drop on potential grave robbers who might go through the "back doors" of the walls they constructed. After waking late the next morning, Anatoly went to the docks with Yuri and Lokan. He wanted to find Mamoun again, in order to hitch a ride to Slave Island, or to the other side of the river. Instead, the party was confronted by a group of armed men who claimed that they are in the service of Vizier Ilyas bin Umar. The party willingly surrendered, and was taken to the Udyn citadel. Here, they were confronted by the vizier himself, who told them to forget about going after Yaqub, as this would endanger the well-being of the city. For emphasis, the vizier also brought out Alden - another companion of Yuri's and Lokan's, who was apparently found drunk in a ditch after a multiple-day binge. The companions refused to promise that they will relent in trying to free the prisoners, so Ilyas orders them all to be thrown in the dungeon. Yuri, however, volunteered to go in by himself - he was the one aggrieved by the raid, after all, and he successfully persuaded the vizier to release the rest of his companions.   When they returned to the Nart Quarter to tell Zinovii what happened, the boyar asked if they showed the vizier the letter he had written. Zinovii then surmised that the vizier was in cahoots with Yaqub, and refused to allow the party to confront the serpent because he wanted blame for the raid to fall on his master - the Grand Prince. The only solution was to get out of the city immediately, to prevent the vizier from spinning his webs, or throwing Zinovii and his servitors into the dungeon as well, and to attempt to deal with Yaqub themselves, in order to show rivals in Nor' that the Grand Prince is protecting them. Toward this end, Zinovii ordered Anatoly to buy provisions, while his other servant Yushko prepared for departure. He also directed Yushko to inform Yuri's companions that he would await them at the village of Shatkal, a short ways upstream, from where they would cross the river, and go off in search of the malefactor.   Anatoly did as he was told, and purchased food and cover to protect them from the incessant rains. He also looked around to make sure they weren't being watched or followed. When he returned, Zinovii left with the rest of his entourage. In order to throw any pursuers off track, and to avoid being captured by the Kochmaki nomads, who are probably working with the vizier, Zinovii had his people travel in the opposite direction - away from the village, and then attempted to double-back. After riding through rain, mud, and dense woods, they found their way back to the river, and soon found the village. Avoiding some rude children, they found Erken - the village headman, and convinced him to put them up for the night. Before turning in, Zinovii told him that they needed to figure out a way to cross the river with their horses, as the villagers probably lacked craft big enough to move all of them. At night, Anatoly tried to remain vigilant, to make sure no one was sneaking out of the house to inform the vizier of their presence.   He began the following day by inquiring of Erken why they were charged money to stay, and not offered the standard Kochmak hospitality. Erken explained that they were visited by Norik travelers within the last sevenday, who abused their hospitality, and sneaked more people into the house at night. Though he seemed to warm to Zinovii and Anatoly somewhat, the birdman did not get to experience it, as Zinovii sent him out into the woods, ostensibly to hunt, so as not to tax their hosts' larders, but really to watch for any movement of people toward the city. He spent all day hunting and watching for travelers. At the end of the day, he was apparently captured by Kochmak raiders, who beat him and took him to a campsite near the village, where they may have been preparing to launch a raid against Zinovii's other companions.   Early the next morning, Anatoly was brought the the Emgen clan encampment, and chained up near the Bey's yurt. Vizier Ilyas ibn Umar rode in with his soldiers, and tried to interrogate Anatoly concerning the whereabouts of his companions, but the man did not answer him, despite being beaten with spear-butts by his guards. The vizier then left, and ordered the nomads to execute him. The execution was to be performed by Aibek - his erstwhile wrestling rival, but Anatoly transformed into a rooster-man, tore the post he was chained to out of the ground, and used it to knock Aibek out. When the guards tried to subdue him, Augusta de Urbino, who was then visiting the camp, came to his aid, and used her prayer to freeze one man in his place.   Zhuldyz then came out, and said she would deal with the matter herself. She ordered Anatoly into her yurt, and he obeyed. Augusta than followed them in, wondering what was to become of the rooster. Anatoly then requested the priestess to hear his sins, and to give him Last Rites prior to his execution. Zhudyz consented to his request. Anatoly then told Augusta the story of his life, and asked her, at the end, to carry a message to Zinovii on the other side of the river, saying that he stayed loyal to the last, and died so that the Prince's mission would succeed.   Anatoly is likely dead, with his body presumably somewhere in the Emgen camp.   He appears in Chapters 10, 11, 13, and 16.

Current Location
Nomad encampment outside Udyn
Species
Rooster Shapechanger
Ethnicity
Noriki
Circumstances of Death
Executed by Zhuldyz
Hair
Prominent forelock, bright plumage

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